Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a California kidnapping case involving the defendant’s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence that was used to convict him. Ultimately, the court concluded that the defendant’s act of transporting the victim 190 feet at gunpoint was sufficient to meet each of the elements of the California kidnapping statute.
In California, the crime of kidnapping is contained in section 207 of the California Penal Code. That statute prohibits someone from “forcibly, or by any other means of instilling fear, steals or takes, or holds, detains, or arrests any person in this state, and carries the person into another country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county.” Thus, to prove a case of kidnapping, the prosecution must establish that the defendant transported someone against their will.
In this case, the court explained the facts as follows: The defendant was involved in a romantic relationship with the victim for three years. According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was abusive towards his girlfriend, eventually leading to her cutting off all communication with the defendant.
One day, the defendant broke into the victim’s locked bedroom, held a gun to her, and demanded she come with him. The defendant instructed the girl to leave out the front door of her house and run to his car, which was about 550 feet away. After starting to run towards the defendant’s car slowly, the victim, thinking she would be killed if she got into the car, turned and ran into the back door of a neighbors’ home. The neighbors helped the girl call the police.
The defendant was arrested the following day, and charged with burglary, assault with a firearm, and kidnapping. At trial, the defendant was convicted of all three offenses. He subsequently appealed his kidnapping conviction, arguing that he did commit a kidnapping offense when he transported the victim the short distance from her bed to her front yard.
The court rejected the defendant’s argument, affirming his conviction. The court noted that the evidence showed he transported the victim about 190 feet at gunpoint, which was sufficient under the statutory language. The court rejected the defendant’s contention that 190 feet was a “trivial distance,” noting that there was no support for such an argument in case law. The court also pointed out that the only reason the distance was not greater was that the victim broke free of the defendant’s control and ran to safety.
Have You Been Charged with a Serious California Crime?
If you have recently been charged with a California kidnapping crime, or another felony offense, contact Attorney John W. Noonan for immediate assistance. Attorney Noonan is a dedicated California criminal defense attorney with over 40 years of experience helping clients defend their freedom from the allegations they face. Attorney Noonan hands all types of criminal defense cases, ranging from serious felony offenses to first-time misdemeanors. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney John W. Noonan, call 877-463-3390 today.